For the past year, many people have been working from home full time or most of the time. Many people enjoyed the perks of remote working such as flexible hours, working in pajamas, and being in the comfort of your own home. This can make it hard for employers when they need people to come back to work in the office. The results of a study done in early February of this year show that six in every ten employees can do most, if not all, of their work duties from home. Below are some tips that employers can use to help encourage people to choose to come back to the office. To read the full article click here.
Social and Career Benefits of Non-Remote Work
Before remote work was the norm, employees would go into the office five days a week and work. Then they would come home and socialize with their families. Remote work has offered coworkers a way to socialize while working. When employers inform their employees that they must return to the office offering areas or times that their employees can socialize while in the workplace could help employees want to come back.
Also, consider offering perks that bring people together. If you offer free lunch, make sure it’s in a place and at a time where people can have some sort of interaction. You can also schedule team-building events or happy hours, so more people are incentivized to come into the office on certain days if office hours are flexible. (Source)
Employers need to work with the employees and understand that they have gotten used to a specific way of doing work while being at home. Having an open discussion before coming back and while in the transition can help. Employers can explain to their employees that they understand the benefits of staying at home and working while also explaining the benefits that employees can have while coming into the office such as connecting and collaborating with others in real-time.
Broadcast Safety and Flexibility
Last week, more than 70 House Republicans signed a letter to the White House asking to end the designation of Covid-19 as a public health emergency because of the accessibility of vaccines and effective treatments. The state of California also announced publicly on February 18 a strategy to transition to an endemic. (Source)
Downgrading the pandemic’s status would be good news for businesses looking to get employees back to the office, as it shows an obvious rationale that people can get together safely. Though employees should know that this is a transition and that things aren’t going to go back to pre-pandemic schedules. Transitioning to an endemic, leaders should emphasize that safety measures will remain, especially through periods of high transmission. (Source)
This is important for employers to be aware of as many employees will be concerned about being exposed to something and bringing it home to their families.
Show Your Work
If employees are concerned about the safety of the office, talk to them about any safety protocols you’re keeping in place, such as masking, checking for vaccinations, or requiring Covid-19 tests. Keep in mind that most of these policies require some exceptions, such as masking exemptions for those with respiratory difficulties, or religious or medical exemptions for vaccination mandates. Also, make sure you communicate any new changes you’ve made to the physical space, such as moving desks for social distancing, limiting the number of people per elevator, or improving your building’s air filtration and ventilation systems.
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Melissa Marsh, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a human resources consultant and founder of HRinDemand, a human resources company in Reno, NV, offering expert guidance and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses with employment regulations, compliance, employee relations, and company growth